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Rural Project Examples: Physicians

Effective Examples

MU AHEC Summer Community Program
Updated/reviewed March 2021
  • Need: Lack of healthcare providers, specifically physicians, in rural Missouri.
  • Intervention: Rising second-year medical students at University of Missouri's School of Medicine are given the opportunity to participate in a clinical program in a rural community setting.
  • Results: Almost half of the participants from 1996-2010 chose to practice in rural locations upon graduation.
HEALTH-COP Obesity Prevention
Updated/reviewed August 2020
  • Need: Many physicians want to help rural children who are overweight or obese develop healthy lifestyles, and these physicians would benefit from receiving training on specific ways to instruct, motivate, and manage the healthcare of these children.
  • Intervention: A virtual learning network called Healthy Eating Active Living TeleHealth Community of Practice (HEALTH-COP) was created to educate rural physicians and provide peer support.
  • Results: Studies showed an increase in health and wellness topics covered by physicians during children's clinic visits. This likely contributed to healthier eating habits and more active lifestyles that were found when these children were reassessed 3 months later.
OHSU Rural Surgery Training
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: General surgeons are needed in rural communities.
  • Intervention: Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is sending residents to complete a general surgery rotation in rural southern Oregon.
  • Results: Almost 40% of the graduates of the rural residency program are now practicing in a rural setting, and the residents are more likely than other OHSU residents to enter general surgery practice and serve in a community of fewer than 50,000 people.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Appalachian Preceptorship Program
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: To prepare future physicians for practicing in rural southern Appalachia.
  • Intervention: The Appalachian Preceptorship Program offers medical students clinical preceptorships to give them experience practicing in rural, underserved communities of southern Appalachia.
  • Results: Students who participate in this preceptorship are more than 3 times as likely to practice medicine in a rural location.

Promising Examples

Successfully Training and Educating Pre-medical Students (STEPS)
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • Need: To increase the number of primary care providers in northeast Kentucky.
  • Intervention: STEPS provides support such as physician shadowing, mock interviews, and MCAT practice exams for regional students applying to medical school.
  • Results: Approximately 70% of participants have been accepted into medical school. The program has been replicated among all of Kentucky's regional AHECs.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy TUSM-MMC Program Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship
Updated/reviewed April 2019
  • Need: To fill vacant medical positions in Maine's rural medical facilities.
  • Intervention: The Tufts Maine Track LIC program offers clerkships in rural medical facilities, exposing medical school students to the positives and possibilities that rural practices have to offer.
  • Results: The program has seen an increase in students' interest to practice in rural Maine. The majority have pursued medical careers in one of the 6 core specialties studied during their clerkship.
Health Extension Regional Offices (HEROs)
Updated/reviewed October 2018
  • Need: People in rural New Mexico often found it difficult to find and utilize needed resources from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC).
  • Intervention: UNMHSC created Health Extension Regional Offices (HEROs), in which HERO agents live in the communities they serve, help identify health and social needs, and link them with UNMHSC and other university resources.
  • Results: In their regions, HERO agents' activities have been diverse, including recruiting physicians, mobilizing research funds to address local priorities, working on economic development, training laypeople in Mental Health First Aid, and helping local institutions access UNMHSC resources.

Other Project Examples

Health Profession Rural Summer Immersion Program
Updated/reviewed June 2021
  • Need: To expose medical and physician assistant students to rural healthcare practices and a rural lifestyle.
  • Intervention: A two-week immersion program for second-year students to experience rural healthcare and rural life in Connecticut and New York.
  • Results: In post-program evaluations from 2016 to 2018, 50% of students reported being very likely to practice in a rural setting, compared to just over 10% of students before the program.
Avera LIGHT
Updated/reviewed March 2021
  • Need: Assistance for urban and rural physicians — as well as other healthcare providers — who are experiencing burnout and other issues associated with well-being.
  • Intervention: As part of its provider well-being focus in its rural and urban facilities, Avera Health system has created a program which attends to physician wellness issues starting with recruitment with continued support through retirement.
  • Results: With increasing engagement due to word of mouth, the program creates a culture of wellness where stigma is decreased and providers are encouraged to be proactive in reaching out for assistance for issues related to their personal and professional well-being.
Prairie Lakes Healthcare System Physician Recruitment Model
Updated/reviewed February 2021
  • Need: Localized specialty and surgery services for residents in rural northeastern South Dakota and western Minnesota.
  • Intervention: Prairie Lakes Healthcare System expanded their services by recruiting specialty physicians and networking with regional community hospitals to increase patient referrals.
  • Results: Patients receive surgery and specialized care closer to home through Prairie Lakes' specialty medical providers and specialty services.